There were even two retro drunks in the bar, their carrier bags teaming with packet food, pint glasses swilling with lager.
That’s what I call atmosphere. Stirring stuff.
The menu is mercifully uncluttered. There are three fish dishes on the starters (others include steak tartare, a duck Scotch egg and something with bread for vegetarians).
I went for the entire 1970s revisited experience, opting for prawns, blackened and born of tiger, with garlic.
Totally fine, the garlic butter without a whiff of the rancidity that I’ve come across in places that should know better.
Steak listings are simple and to the point – fillet, sirloin, ribeye and bavette. There are whoppers of chateaubriand and porterhouse for those with an inclination to share.
Now, I’ve also heard complaints that the steaks at The New Inn are expensive, mainly from people who still think we’re on the ration.
I don’t think £18 for an 8oz ribeye with chips for is a rip-off, not for an organically-reared rare breed beast that has clicked its heels and swung its tail on open, green pastures. If you want to eat pile-it-high arse leather, I can suggest any number of restaurant chains and purveyors of nasty frozen flesh.
Get this: cheap food isn’t cheap because the benevolent restaurant/cafe owner has your best wishes at heart and likes to operate as a charity.
Cheap food is cheap because it’s not good, not good at all. This observation is not snobbish; it’s a fact. The farmer supplying The New Inn needs paying, the butcher needs paying, the staff need paying, the rents, rates and utilities need paying.
Do you want to know why some pubs have closed? Because they sold bad food last seen eaten at the cast Christmas party for On The Buses.
The New Inn ribeye was good, properly rested. In fact, it was almost over-rested because another minute and it would have passed the point of being warm.
Sally’s sirloin was also good but again could have been fetched out of the kitchen a bit quicker.
The garlic butter barely melted when it was placed on top. But these are simple things to put right, unlike sourcing and cooking which, if they are bad, tend to stay bad.
There are “triple” cooked chips but the beef dripping variety are the ones to go for.
There wasn’t an oblong finger of undercooked Jenga brick in sight and for that, Mr Scriven, I salute you.
Steaks come with a good knob of corn on the cob and a fat tomato, but the tom was of that watery, non-sweet, On The Buses variety. Find a good supplier of vine tomatoes. There are plenty down the road in Evesham.
We ordered a side of creamed spinach and decent onion rings but frankly the meat and chips would have sufficed.
From the desserts board I had the sticky toffee pudding and ice cream, which was like sticky toffee pudding and ice cream – okay, which is okay if you are okay with okay.
The total bill, including drinks and service – which was helpful and war-natured – was £80. So no, it’s not cheap, but I enjoyed the experience and I’d go back.
The New Inn may just have been thrown a new, welcome lease of life.